Showing posts with label myexpatlife. Show all posts
Showing posts with label myexpatlife. Show all posts

Friday, June 15, 2018

Friday Five: Kicking Off Summer

It turns out that living out of my suitcase for nearly a month took it's toll on me. As much as I wanted to jump right back into my normal routine of fitness and blogging when we got back to Hong Kong, my brain just wasn't ready.

Has it really been a month since my last blog post???

Today it finally felt like it was time to catch up and write a Friday Five post about what's been going on around here.

1. We were blessed with some incredibly nice weather when we got back from the states and I did some swimming and walking.

2. I researched a lot of different juices until I found a favorite ---> Happy Apple <3

3. mrC and I got dressed up and went to our first Chinese wedding celebration in Macau. If you think their celebrations are over-the-top, you are right! It was a lot of fun.

4. And then little C arrived for a kick off the summer two week visit ---> just as Hong Kong was having record-setting hot weather.

We went to Stanley Beach to show her one of Hong Kong's most popular sports and cheer on the AWA Dragon Boat team.

We got nice and sweaty hiking at Cape D'Aguilar and then cooled off with a swim at Shek O Beach.

She and I got to spend the day on a junk boat cruising around Hong Kong Island while her dad was working.

5. We played on our SUP boards.

A couple of weeks of living up to my 2018 goals, I felt refreshed and energized. In my next post, I will tell you about the two week fitness challenge I took.

I'm linking up with Lacey and Meranda and Rachel for the Friday Five 2.0!

Did your summer weather kick in early?
Tell me something you have been up to lately!

Monday, March 12, 2018

A Trip to Guilin, China + Weekly Wrap

I went on another China adventure to the land of karst mountains and had so much fun! We hiked, we rafted, we explored, we ate and we laughed.

My membership with the American Women's Association offers me the opportunity to do many things including take trips around Asia. I've been to KaipingHarbin, and now Guilin where the famous karst mountains are located.

The morning that we took the bamboo raft ride was rainy and overcast, but it didn't dampen the fun at all. Our rafts were authentic bamboo with the driver using a bamboo pole to push us down the river (we would later see larger rafts with motorboat engines attached and be grateful that we had a genuine experience).

The views from our bamboo raft were absolutely stunning! The karst mountain peaks loomed all around us and the countryside was so peaceful.

We did have a few exciting moments as the rafts dropped over terraces. The first one was a little scary but then after that it was just fun.

We pushed our hiking trip to the next day and it was worth the wait. The hike began with a moderate climb to Xianggongshan where we had amazing views of the Li River and the karst mountains.

The rest of the trail took us through beautiful countryside including right through mandarin plantations. The employees were very friendly as we passed by and our guide gave us each a mandarin orange.

At the bottom of the mountainside our hike continued along the Lijang River to Xingping old town. 

The shore was lined with cormorant fishing boats. The cormorants are tied to the rafts and sent into the water to retrieve fish. We didn't see actual fishing, but the locals were more than ready to pose for photos, for a small fee. (I found this photo on Trip Advisor)

I signed up for this trip because I wanted to see the karst mountains and because we would hiking and bamboo rating down the Yulong River. I like sightseeing, but I like adventure sightseeing even more. It was exactly what I hoped.

And now I'm catching up on blogging. Here's the rest of my workouts for the week:

Monday - Trip prep - lots of walking!

Tuesday - travel to Guilin

Wednesday - Bamboo rafting and sightseeing

Thursday - 7.3km hike and travel back to Hong Kong 

Friday - REST

Saturday - 3 mile run

Sunday - Walk around the neighborhood

I’m linking up with Holly and Wendy for the Weekly Wrap!

Friday, March 2, 2018

Hiking: Maclehose Trail Stage 3

Embrace the hill!

That should be the mantra heading into this hike because the climbing is no joke.

I'm on a mission to hike all 100 km of the Maclehose Trail in Hong Kong. Unofficially, I started this trail when I hiked stage 2 with my SWIC hiking friends a couple of years ago. Now I'm teaming up with my AWA hiking friends to hopefully finish this beast.

Stage 3 of the Maclehose Trail is rated difficult because of the multiple climbs and rugged trail. You won't find any concrete paths or stairs on this one, but flat rock steps help on the ascents.

The first climb takes you up to Ngau Yee Shek Shan/Ngam Tau Shan at over 400 meters. Although it is quite challenging making your way up, the views of the mountains of Sai Kung and the South China Sea in the distance make rest stops along the way enjoyable (especially if you are there on a clear day).

A rather long and gradual descent takes you to a camping area at Cheung Sheung. This was a large area but the only living creature we saw on this drizzly day was a cow.

The second climb is short and sweet. Here you get the first views of the other side of the mountain toward Three Fathoms Cove and the skyscrapers of Ma On Shan.

Another drop down sets the stage for the final and most grueling climb of the day. The trail is the most rugged and steepest yet as you make your way up to Kai Kung Shan at 399 meters. Sadly after all that climbing we found ourselves in a cloud with no hope for a view.

It was all downhill from there. Literally. The trail gradually and slowly descends to Kei Ling Ha. Slowly because the trail is completely covered with irregular rocks.

At the end of stage 3 there is a very nice picnic area, rest rooms and a vending machine with water. A short walk takes you to the bus stops.

Other hard hikes in Hong Kong:

Thursday, January 18, 2018

TOL - One Random Hong Kong Day

I thought it would be fun to document a random day in my life with my random thoughts for Thinking Out Loud. This is what my Wednesday looked like.

I really wish I could sleep in later than 6am. Maybe my body is just super thirsty because I always guzzle at least one bottle of water before I have my morning coffee.

The air quality in Hong Kong can be really bad sometimes. I'm glad that I can run on the treadmill at the fitness center to avoid the pollution.

After lunch I went to the plaza to buy a couple of dresses from a lady selling them through a local wardrobe swap group (one fit, one did not). I also found a fun Hong Kong memory card game at the stationary store to send to my BFF's little girl.

I spent the rest of my day in Central for an appointment and an AWA activity. Sometimes when I'm there it feels like I'm standing in the middle of chaos. It's crazy but I kind of love it.

Picture taken by mrC on previous trip to Central

Bunco Happy Hour is sooo fun! I have only played twice, but I absolutely LOVE it. Last night I tied for most wins, but then lost in the roll-off.

The ferry is one of my favorite times to listen to podcasts. I'm currently listening to Accused about a newspaper's investigation into a 40-year-old unsolved murder. If you listened to and liked Serial, you'll like this one.

Do you have a treadmill backup plan too?
Do you play Bunco?
What podcast are you listening to?

Today I'm Thinking Out Loud with Running with Spoons - join the link up 
or head over for some great reading.


Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery

We picked up littleC at the Hong Kong International Airport on Monday evening. After only 4 hours of sleep, she was ready to take on Hong Kong the next morning. We headed to town to join the AWA group tour of the Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery.

Finding Buddhas in Hong Kong is not surprising, but seeing more than 10,000 in one place is quite impressive. To get to the monastery (this term is used lightly, as there are no actual monks living here), we had to walk a path known for monkeys hanging around (we didn't see any) and then climb about 430 steps completely lined on both sides with golden buddhas.

These buddhas all had very different facial expressions meant to demonstrate the various states of enlightenment.

The monastery was spread out over two levels. To get all the steps out of the way, we went right to the top level. We saw some of the most beautiful temples (there are five in total). I loved the colors in this one.

The different buddha statues continued. It was fun trying to figure out the significance of what they were holding.

The reclining buddha was a big hit. His toes were so big, I kept counting to make sure there were only ten.

The ivory white Kwun Yam statue riding a dragon was a stunning find in the farthest corner of the upper level. With a waterfall behind her, she seemed to be looking over the other buddhas and the village of Shatin far below.

On the main level of the monastery we found the nine story pagoda that is featured on some $100HKD bills. Rumor has it that you can climb up for great views, but it was closed when we were there.

On this level there were several pavilions, more and more buddhas and the main temple with more than 10,000 buddhas inside (no photos or video were allowed inside).

This place was just so interesting! We might have rushed a bit because winter temperatures have arrived in Hong Kong and we were really cold.

Monday, December 11, 2017

My Archery Lesson

I love when I get the chance to try something new. Just a month ago, I tried dragon boat paddling for the first time. Last week, I got to try my hand at archery through the American Women's Association. I signed up for the beginner's class being held at Golden Trust Archery in Lai Chi Kok and prepared to bring on my Katniss skills ---> just kidding. I only hoped my arrows actually made it to the target.

We met our instructor Anthony and the first thing we did was a little warm-up and stretching session for our arms, shoulders, and necks. After that, we put on arm guards and he walked us through the steps of how to hold, load the arrows and shoot from our recurve bows. We were given the beginner's short and sweet edition compared to the reminder list posted on the wall (thank goodness because that is a lot to remember!).

Since four people could shoot at a time, we took turns practicing for about 30 minutes. On each practice we had six arrows to shoot, just like in a competition ---> only later I would learn that my station actually had 7 arrows. I don't think any of us needed to be told that the goal was to aim for the middle of the target.

I really thought that it would be harder than it was, but I was pleasantly surprised that all of my shots made it to the target. As we practiced, Anthony would watch and give feedback to help us get better. Once I got the hang of lifting my elbow up, I did pretty good.

One of my best practice rounds

During a short break we were able to watch a young woman practicing on another course. She was twice as far away from her target as we were and she was hitting the center nearly every time. She was our inspiration!

After the break, Anthony explained how to keep score: Starting at the outer blue ring 6 points, red 7 points, 8 points, yellow 9 points, 10 points, and the center 10 points but scored as an X (this is used to break ties).

We had a little more practice and then it was time for a friendly competition: four rounds or 24 arrows and the highest score wins. This is when I learned that I had seven arrows and as a result had to give up my highest scoring arrow that round (a ten pointer, that luckily only changed my score by one point). At the end, I tied Maureen with most points, but she had more Xs to win! (oh to have that point back, haha!)

Even though we were using very light weight bows, this gave my upper body a good workout. We had a lot of fun and can totally see why archery is a popular sport.

Have you ever tried archery?

Thursday, November 9, 2017

My Dragon Boat Paddling Lesson

Dragon boat racing is a big deal in Hong Kong.

When we first moved to China, we learned (and celebrated) about the traditional Chinese holiday - Dragon Boat Festival ---> commemorates the drowning of Chinese poet Qu Yuan, who, according to popular legend, drowned himself in Hunan province 2,000 years ago in protest to what he saw as corrupt rule. As local residents rushed to rescue him, they loudly beat drums and threw dumplings in the river to drive away hungry fish. Eventually, dragon boat racing, with its pounding of drums and flurry of paddles, became a traditional activity on this day.

Then after moving to Hong Kong, we saw dragon boat racing for the first time in Discovery Bay.

Last weekend mrC and I tried dragon boat paddling for ourselves. We attended a Dragon Boat Fun Day (Spousal Edition) hosted by the American Women's Association's Dragon Boat Team.

First I have to say, that I love the passion that these ladies have for dragon boating. Their energy was definitely contagious and set the tone for a great event.

The event was held at Stanley Beach (on the south side on Hong Kong Island) where the team holds practices. After a brief explanation, we were handed paddles, divided up into three boats and pushed out onto the water.

The first part of our lesson, was learning the proper paddling technique. It didn't take long for the amateurs to get wet during this part!

After some paddling practice, we had some fun races against the other boats. The race went like this: everyone would paddle a set number of strokes (say 50) and the winner was the boat who went the farthest.

We had a ton of fun learning how to paddle dragon boats. It's too bad that Stanley Beach is such a long haul from Discovery Bay. I think it would take me longer to get there, than the length of the practice sessions!

After the paddling session, about half of the people in the top photo walked to Stanley Market for a little Mexican food and post-paddling drinks. It was a great night!

Have you ever gone dragon boat paddling or watched a dragon boat race?